Is there any TV show more iconic than Saturday Night Live? And does it have any current cast member who has drawn more attention and interest recently than Pete Davidson? Somehow, this seemingly ordinary kid from New York has catapulted to stardom over the past half-decade or so—and he seems to be making more and more headlines with each passing year. So who exactly is this guy, anyway? From high profile romances to deeply personal struggles, here are 24 facts about the fascinating life of rising star Pete Davidson.
Facts About Pete Davidson
1. Early Start
At the young age of just 20 years old, Davidson became one of the youngest cast members in the history of SNL when he joined in September 2014—and the first one ever to have been born in the 1990s.
2. If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again!
As much success at Davidson has enjoyed as a cast member on SNL, not every comedic project of his has turned out quite as well—he once starred in the pilot of a Fox sitcom titled Sober Companion back in 2014. Sadly, this pilot never became a series, but Pete has never let that stop him from moving on to bigger and better things ever since.
3. Word of Mouth
So just how did a 20-year-old unknown become a full-time cast member on one of America’s most iconic comedy shows, seemingly overnight? It turns out that Davidson has a series of very fortunate coincidences to thank for landing him this epic opportunity. After receiving a minor role in the film Trainwreck, he just so happened to have been on set filming one day at the same time as SNL star Bill Hader, who he apparently made a good first impression on. Hader would then mention Pete’s name to series producer and creator Lorne Michaels, who was confident enough in his star’s recommendation that he agreed to give Davidson an audition. The rest, as they say, is history.
4. Is It Too Late Now to Say Sorry?
One of the most pivotal moments of the young star’s career was when he had the opportunity to roast music superstar Justin Bieber in one of Comedy Central’s most highly publicized roasts of all time—and he did not disappoint. In front of perhaps the largest and highest profile group of people he had ever performed for, the 21-year-old Davidson did not shy away from making some controversial and unforgettable jokes at the Biebs’ expense. Many critics considered his segment one of the best and most memorable portions of the entire event.
5. She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not
Davidson and music star Ariana Grande made headlines all over the entertainment world in 2018 when, after much speculation from their fans, it was suddenly revealed that the two were not only newly dating, but engaged. This was especially noteworthy to fans because both Davidson and Grande had just recently split from previous high-profile relationships earlier that same year with Cazzie David and Mac Miller, respectively. The hype and excitement over the couple’s engagement was matched only by the similar hype and interest in the couple’s sudden breakup just four months later. As fascinating as this relationship was to follow from afar, only the two of them really know what went wrong at the end of the day.
6. Pretty, Pretty Good!
Even before his widely publicized relationship with Ariana Grande, Davidson was no stranger to high profile girlfriends–he had previously been in a two-year relationship with none other than Cazzie David, daughter of legendary Seinfeld creator and Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David. When you think about it, these two probably had a lot in common—everything from their comedy backgrounds, to their similar last names!
7. Lucky Strike
The world almost didn’t get the chance to experience the comedy of Davidson. Being fairly shy, he only ever bothered to actually try performing a stand-up routine for the first time when dared to by some friends while hanging out at a Staten Island bowling alley at the age of 16—and even then, he was only willing to do so after smoking. He definitely bowled a perfect game that day as far as his future was concerned, whether he realized it or not at the time!
8. Media Luminary
Within the first two years of his stint on SNL, Davidson had become popular and successful enough to have landed himself a coveted spot on the Forbes “30 under 30” list for 2016. You know you’re doing something right when you suddenly find yourself in that kind of company!
9. We Can Work It Out
Davidson is no stranger to controversy, and his run-in with Congressman Dan Crenshaw in November 2018 was no exception. It all started when Davidson made an on-air joke in which he mocked the Congressman’s appearance and the fact that he wears an eyepatch—a joke that was deemed insensitive to the fact that he had lost his eye in combat while serving in Afghanistan.
This story does have a happy ending, however. Davidson apologized for the joke following the controversy and, to show that there were no hard feelings, Crenshaw even guest starred on the next episode of SNL alongside Davidson—both of them seeking to use this as an opportunity to set a good example of forgiveness and getting along for the millions of people watching at home.
10. In Davidson We Trust
Afghanistan vets and members of Congress aren’t the only folks with whom Davidson has clashed recent times—just a few months after the Crenshaw controversy, he came under fire from the Catholic church for comparing its followers to fans of disgraced music star R. Kelly in light of both of their recent sex abuse scandals. Understandably, the church found this comparison to be offensive and an unfair characterization of the sincere beliefs of millions of people all over the world.
11. Speaking Up—For Everyone
Davidson has long suffered from a slew of mental health struggles, the most serious being borderline personality disorder. Being among the just 5.9% of the population who suffer from this ailment and given the stigmas that often come with mental health challenges, Davidson kept his struggles private for many years before finally sharing his feelings with the public in recent years. I’m sure that I’m not alone in hoping that he is doing better now on this front, and that his decision to speak up will be able to help others out there who are struggling as well.
12. Dishing It Out
Davidson has suffered from Crohn’s disease since he was a teenager, and has opened up in the past about the severe pain it has caused him at times. At one point, this ailment of his became the subject of controversy when a blog called Barstool Sports made fun of the way it makes his eyes appear—prompting harsh backlash from many, including Ariana Grande.
13. A Little Help From a Friend
Davidson’s habit of smoking pot has been a major part of his life ever since his teenage years. He first began using it to help treat some of his health issues, but he now also uses it to help with his comedy and performing skills. In fact, Davidson has even gone so far as to say that he never goes on stage without being at least partially under the influence. So that’s what makes him so funny!
14. Mutual Admiration
Davidson is not somebody who takes his politics lightly—as a proud supporter of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, Davidson was excited to let the whole world know when he got a tattoo of the Democratic candidate on his leg during that now infamous election cycle. As unsurprising as it is that Clinton appreciated this gesture, I don’t think anyone expected the kind of response she would have ready for him—she jokingly quipped that “This makes it significantly less awkward that I’ve had a Pete Davidson tattoo for years.” That’s pretty epic!
15. Silly Love Songs
It’s not uncommon for popular singers and songwriters to put their feelings about the people in their lives into their music—but usually, it’s done with at least a little bit of subtlety. Not in the case of Davidson’s ex-fiancée, Ariana Grande, who titled one of her songs “Pete Davidson” on her 2018 album, Sweetener. I wonder who that one could be about! Either way, fans who were disappointed when the couple broke up can take solace in the fact that their love will always live on in song.
16. A Change of Heart
Despite his love of the herb, there was a point in his life where Davidson did actually try to quit it. In fact, he spent over $40,000 on rehab during a hiatus from TV and social media back in 2017, hoping to beat the habit once and for all. That all changed instantly when he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. He came to feel that this had been the true cause of his suffering rather than the drugs, and so he very quickly returned to his old habit to help himself cope with this new, very different struggle.
17. The Dark Side
As a result of the many emotional and mental struggles that Davidson has had to deal with over the years, he has at times struggled with suicidal ideation. Thankfully, he credits the music of rapper Kid Cudi with inspiring him to keep on going and to never actually act on those dark feelings.
18. Die Hard, or Hardly Dying?
Davidson has long claimed to be a huge fan of the Harry Potter book and movie series’—even decking himself out in Potter gear for his big engagement announcement on Instagram and often displaying his Potter-themed tattoos proudly in public. Despite all this, though, some fellow Potter superfans have called his true interest in the series into question—pointing out some curious comments he has made about never having read past the third book, as well as his apparent lack of knowledge of certain aspects of the novels. I’ll leave this one for all of you true fans out there to decide…
19. Fighting Back
Following his breakup with Ariana Grande, Davidson was subjected to a swath of online bullying and criticism by people on social media. After trying to avoid the unpleasantness for as long as he could, he finally responded with a scathing statement telling people off for this disgusting treatment and standing up for all young victims of bullying in the hopes that they will never have to experience what he has been forced to go through all his life. We definitely wish Pete the best in his struggles and appreciate all that he does for others in similar situations.
20. Never Forget
As almost every fan of his is surely aware, Davidson’s father was tragically killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center back in 2001, when the future comedian was just 7 years old. As a New York City firefighter, the elder Davidson lost his life while running up the stairs doing his best to rescue others from lower Manhattan’s Marriott building just moments before it collapsed.
21. The Pain Is Real
As you can imagine, the loss of his father at such a young age has had an enormous impact of Davidson’s life and personality ever since. He has called the severity of the trauma he went through as a result of this “overwhelming.” As a kid, his reactions ranged in ways from acting up in school to pulling out his own hair until he was practically bald. If that doesn’t make you feel sympathy for the poor guy, I don’t know what will…
22. To Each Their Own
One aspect of Davidson’s comedy that many viewers just can’t help but notice is how edgy and unafraid of broaching controversial subjects he can be in his sense of humor—most notably in his surprising tendency to make jokes about the tragic loss of his own father. Davidson has explained that, as counterintuitive as it may seem, he does this in order to give himself a sense of empowerment to counteract the powerlessness that coping with this loss has always forced upon him.
23. Glory Days
Davidson was the victim of excessive bullying growing up, and unfortunately didn’t have many friends in school. This got so bad that he eventually had to switch high schools three separate times—facing severe bullying in every single school he attended.
24. Mama’s Boy
Davidson’s mother has worked as a school nurse at one of the high schools her son attended since the days when he was a student there, and she continues to work there to this day. As cool as having a celebrity’s mom as your school nurse may sound, it’s not without its downsides. According to reports, students have at times harassed poor Mrs. Davidson at school about headlines involving her son—even taunting her by singing Ariana Grande songs that reference him. Show some respect, people!